Dr. Kayser: Marijuana, or cannabis, is illegal in most of the United States but is nonetheless one of the most commonly used substances. As our political and cultural landscape has changed, cannabis use appears to be on the rise. For example, a 2019 Gallup poll found that 12% of adults in the US reported having used cannabis in the past week—a rate nearly matching the 15% who say they’d smoked cigarettes. Similarly, a survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that, between 2008 and 2018, the number of adults who reported using cannabis on a daily basis increased by 4.8 million.
Q: How do you feel about substances / cannabis?
So, at this point, we still cannot say whether CBD would help, harm, or have a neutral effect on OCD symptoms. It’s not all bad news, though: in addition to the survey listed above, our team is currently pursuing a study on CBD’s effects in patients with OCD. So we hope to be able to answer this question in more detail soon.
Q: How does CBD oil even work? I don’t like smoking weed because it has always made my anxiety worse, so what’s the difference? Could CBD help my OCD?
Unfortunately, there are many exaggerated or misleading claims about CBD that do not reflect what is actually known scientifically. In reality, there have only been a few small studies in humans. Though these have given us some hints that CBD may help with certain anxiety symptoms, the results are far from conclusive. We are even more in the dark in terms of how CBD affects obsessions and compulsions, as there have been no studies at all in patients with OCD.
The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of different cannabinoids on OCD symptoms in humans. To accomplish this in a laboratory setting, patients with OCD who are also occasional cannabis users will receive different combinations of two of the most well-studied cannabinoids, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the main psychoactive component in cannabis) and cannabidiol (CBD, another component of the cannabis plant). We will then measure acute effects on OCD symptoms, anxiety, intoxication, and cardiovascular outcomes (i.e. blood pressure and heart rate).